A study conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in collaboration with, among others, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the US Department of Energy (DOE), suggests that
generating electricity from waves and sea currents in the US could be economically viable in the near future, in the order of four years, provided that investments
The principle is to use the wave movements to pressurize a fluid then to produce electricity that is routed through an undersea cable.
According to the organization, the potential of US shores would 2100 Terrawatt.heure per year, almost as much as electricity from coal or ten times the total energy generated by hydroelectric power stations of the country.
The evaluation is in fact based on an equation J equals 0,42 x (Hs) exp2 x Tp (wherein J is available energy,
Hs is the significant wave height in the place and studied their period Tp during times of peak height), applied to sites for which the parameters were measured. EPRI got his capacity available estimates taking account of return assumptions of capture devices. At present the United States, two companies have developed energy converter prototypes: Ocean Power Technologies (New Jersey), which includes its PowerBuoy system in Hawaii one megawatt for the US Navy (commissioning scheduled for 2006) and AquaEnergy group, pending federal permits for a test of its AquaBuoy off Washington State.
However, some are concerned about the apparent unwillingness of the Bush administration to develop this technology solution and fear that the United States do not fall behind. And in fact, the first test connection to a power grid was conducted in August 2004 the other side of the Atlantic, in Orkney, Scotland, using Pelamis converter of the company Ocean Power Delivery (on EPRI which was also based on his study).
WSJ 08 / 04 / 05 (Ocean Power fights current thinking)